Setback for Littleport smallholders after council scuppers expansion plans
PUBLISHED: 16:44 14 September 2012
A FAMILY smallholding in Littleport that had sought to boost the fortunes of local suppliers by opening up a new farm shop has suffered a major setback after the council refused planning permission.
Westmoor House Smallholding, on Wisbech Road, was started in 2006 by Lindsay and John Creek, who bought a plot of about five acres from a retiring farmer.
Back in June, the family applied for permission to construct a new building on the estate that would house a produce store, office and farm shop to sell both goods from the smallholding and from other local suppliers.
Despite support from both the NFU and Littleport Parish Council however, East Cambs District Council refused planning permission on the grounds that the shop would be stocked with too many products that were not produced at the smallholding.
The council also said that the farm shop would have a harmful effect on the rural character of the area and would encourage the use of the motor car because it was outside of the village centre.
District council case officer, Ann Caffall, said in her report:
“The proposal would rely heavily on the sale of goods brought in from elsewhere and the local planning authority is not satisfied that the proposal will make the existing smallholding business more sustainable in the long term.
“The Local Planning Authority considers that the introduction of a farm shop with advertising and general activity, particularly during the hours of darkness, would be detrimental to the rural character of the area.”
In light of the refusal, the Creeks have decided to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, who will visit the site before making a ruling on the council’s decision.
Six years since they first opened, the Creeks have about 750 hens, eight sheep and 11 pigs, with plans to breed pigs on the smallholding afoot.
The smallholding sells hundreds of eggs a week to passers-by as well as supplying customers with free-range pork.
Anyone wishing to have their say on the appeal can visit www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs. The deadline for comments is October 12.